Jerry Slocum has now given us The Cube: The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Bestselling Puzzle – Secrets, Stories, Solutions that everyone has been longing for on the Rubik’s Cube. He can rightfully be considered the leading expert in the world of puzzles. In every field, one person seems to stand out. With puzzles at one time it was Sam Loyd but today it’s Jerry Slocum. When one thinks of any sport or entertainment, one name immediately comes to mind. With Golf, it’s Tiger Woods, with Baseball, it’s Babe Ruth, with Bird watching ,it’s Roger Tory Peterson, with Rock and Roll, it’s Elvis Presley, with Bridge, it’s Goren, with Motion Pictures, it’s Spielberg, with Mystery Novels, it’s Steven King, with Hockey, it’s Gretzky, with Crosswords, it’s Will Shortz and with Puzzles, it’s Jerry Slocum.
He has put together what is probably the world’s largest collection of puzzles, has been a central figure in the world of puzzles for years and has written numerous books on puzzles, all of which have become classics and highly desirable by puzzle enthusiasts. He stands alone in researching the history of puzzles.
After his last two wonderful books on “Tangrams” and “The 15-Puzzle “, who is better than him, to do a book on “The Cube”? He outlines the history of the Rubik’s Cube since it was invented in 1974. There is an Introduction by none less than Erno Rubik himself. Then, Slocum reviews the other great puzzle crazes that have taken the world by storm before the Cube namely the Tangram, the 15-Puzzle and Pigs in Clover. In Chapter 2, David Singmaster, who has been the leading spokesman for the Rubik’s Cube, is a retired mathematics professor and has one of the world’s largest collections of books on Recreational Mathematics and author of the classic “Notes on the Magic cube” covers the history of the Cube from its beginning, when Rubik invented it, how it spread in a world wide craze, the various forms it took, books, solutions and even novelty items. Then, he describes how it made resurgence. In Chapter 3, Geert Hellings, President of the Dutch Cube Club and puzzle designer covers the various puzzles that have appeared over the years, inspired by the original Rubik’s Cube. This chapter not only has illustrations, but also, detailed text explaining them. The variety and complexity of what you will see here is amazing.
In Chapter 4, Wei-Hwa Huang, a world puzzle champion, and Dieter Gebhardt, a leading expert on rotational puzzles give detailed instructions on how to solve all the cube sizes, 2x2x2, 3x3x3, 4x4x4, 5x5x5, 6x6x6 and 7x7x7.There are a large number of sites on the Internet where one can find how to solve the Cube but where better to learn the notations, Algorithms (sequences)and methods than from these two world experts? If you have been a long time fan of the Rubik’s Cube, you will be very impressed with this book that has been authored by five of the best Rubik’s Cube experts around today. However, this book is not only for “the experts”, but also for someone who is just beginning to find the satisfaction that can be gained from learning to solve these cubes or even if you just want to find out what this whole craze of Rubik’s Cube is about.This book covers all aspects of the Cube and the huge number of other cubes it has inspired. Don’t expect it to answer everything about all cubes because that would be impossible. It certainly gives you everything to get started or to satisfy your curiosity. The Internet is filled with endless sites that cover everything imaginable and even the unimaginable, about cubes. A simple search under Rubik’s Cube gives you 898,000 listings to start with. If you want to see a speedcuber showing how to solve the Cube, I’d suggest you go to YouTube. How to Solve the Cube and you will find Dan Brown showing you how to do it. I have been a fan of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” for many years. I was looking at their site one day(they have an excellent site and give the daily cartoon, plus a huge Archive of their cartoons, in case your local paper doesn’t carry it),when to my surprise, a cartoon dated Feb.24,2003,featured Dan Gosbee of Toronto, who had solved the Rubik’s Cube 500,000 times. Following up on this cartoon, I found there was to be the 2nd Rubik’s Cube World Championship to be held in Toronto on Aug.24, 2003. This was to be the first held since the original one held in 1982, 21 years before. I went to the event and what a thrill it was to see these speedcubers in action. A wide range of people were competing, from a young girl of 8 to an 82 year old. Even Jessica Fredricks, a Mechanical Engineering Professor, who had competed in the 1st World Championship, was there to compete again. Just to show how much the winning times have improved in a few years, Dan Knights, 16, won the Championship with these times. 19.69, 21.13, 18.95, 19.93, 22.07 and 18.76 seconds
The Master of Ceremonies was Dan Gosbee. Also at the Competition was Hana Bizek with a display of fabulous “sculptures” she has created using multiple 3x3x3 Cubes. She is the author of an amazing book, “Mathematics of the Rubik’s Cube” and shows what possibilities there are with the Cube. If there is ever a Cube completion in your area, I suggest you take it in even if you don’t compete. Enjoy Jerry Slocum’s latest book and join the millions of others who have obtained and enjoyed the over 300 million Cubes sold to date. You can purchase this book at Amazon.